Photo: Each of Chicago’s last four first-round picks have been forwards, including former Victoriaville Tigres captain Phillip Danault, selected 26th overall in 2011 (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks will head into the 2013 NHL Draft with only one pick in the first three rounds after trading their second and third picks to Winnipeg in exchange for Johnny Oduya in 2011-12. The team has five total picks, a change of pace after having made 29 selections at the past three drafts. More than half of Chicago's picks in that time have come in the first three rounds, which has given the team several quality prospects at each position to build around.
Photo: Brandon Saad's third period shorthanded goal sealed a 2-1 victory over San Jose on February 22nd, marking the Blackhawks' record-setting 17th straight game without a regulation loss to open the season. (courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon SMI)
The Chicago Blackhawks have had the arsenal of picks to draft for both quantity and quality in recent years, leading to a prospect pool with both variety and depth. The team's top five prospects may stand out due to their overall upside and the likeliness that they will reach that level of play, but the rest of the list is far less clear cut as the prospects have yet to distance themselves from the pack.
Photo: Selected by the Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2008 draft, Jimmy Hayes was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. He is currently playing for the Blackhawks AHL affiliate. (courtesy of Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
With interim GM Cliff Fletcher at the helm (prior the arrival of Brian Burke) the Toronto Maple Leafs made eight selections at the 2008 NHL-Entry Draft including a coveted top-10 selection.
Photo: The Rockford IceHogs second-leading scorer is winger Ben Smith, one of the many prospects with NHL experience in the Rockford lineup this season. (courtesy of Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
Expected by many to be among the top teams in the AHL this season, the Rockford IceHogs have put together another up-and-down start to a season. Even with several players on the roster who are expected to be full-time NHL players when the season begins, the team has managed a 17-16-1-1 record so far in 2012-13. There have been good stretches – four separate stretches have seen the 'Hogs rattle off at least three consecutive wins – but they are always accompanied by times when the team has struggled to come away with any points in the standings.
Photo: One of the top defensive prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks prospect pool, Dylan Olsen will look to continue rounding out his game in Rockford in 2012-13. (courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon SMI)
A significant number of early-round draft picks in recent years have put the Chicago Blackhawks system among the deepest organizations in the league. Although there may not be much in the way of blue-chip talent, the system has multiple NHL-caliber prospects at each position and plenty of players competing at the AHL level.